Society seems to require us to always be calm and have full control over how we feel, no matter the circumstances. Suppressing emotions seems like a great way to prove that you are strong, not a weak crybaby. However, if you hide how you really feel it can have serious health consequences, such as: B. Mental fatigue, high blood pressure and sleep disorders.
Common signs that you are suppressing your emotions as a coping strategy include:
– Use substances like drugs or alcohol to numb the pain and get away from your thoughts.
– Deliberately do not talk about how you are feeling.
– Avoid situations that remind you of your feelings or force you to face them.
– Distract yourself to keep yourself from reacting.
One of the most important ways you can “turn off” negative emotions is to influence your dreams. The brain tries to train emotions, of course, but it needs your help to do so. If you refuse to acknowledge these negative emotions, the brain is forced to process them on its own. While you sleep, memories are processed and stored. If you refuse to confront your negative emotions while you are awake, the brain works to fight the negative emotions without you while you sleep at night. This causes these emotions to show up in your unconscious dream state.
Studies by Malinowski (2017) have confirmed the importance of the “dream rebound”. When we suppress our emotions, they show up in our dreams. Participants who suppressed negative thoughts had more negative emotions that manifested themselves in their dreams in the form of sadness, fear, anger, and fear. Participants who suppressed their negative emotions also had trouble sleeping and had poor quality sleep, sleep disorders, sleeping pills, restless sleep, and daytime fatigue. They also recorded higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.
In essence, the researchers found that negative emotions that occur during waking hours have a greater tendency to manifest themselves in dreams. Especially sadness, fear, anger, and fear. Positive emotions did not manifest themselves significantly in dreams. The suppression of feelings is also linked to poorer sleep quality and correlates with anxiety, depression, and stress.
How to process your emotions in a healthy way
Here are some tips to help you process negative emotions in a healthy way, rather than suppressing them:
– Journal: Freeform journaling can help you get rid of the negative emotions you are feeling. Writing down your negative feelings and identifying possible solutions before bed can be cathartic and greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
– Talk about your dreams: It is incredibly helpful to analyze your dreams with the help of a therapist. Unpacking what happens in these dreams with your therapist will help you identify the particular emotions that you are suppressing and deal with them in a healthy way.
– Practice mindfulness: pay attention to your thoughts. Write them down, then instead of holding them back, release them. Meditation can also help you feel calmer.
We help people manage their emotions in the best possible way and develop their full potential to live and love well. If you need help managing your negative emotions properly, please contact us to book a session.